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Quebec City’s AURORA BOREALIS


AURORA BOREALIS is a permanent and kinetic architectural illumination on the 600-by-30-metre facade of the Bunge’s grain silos, located in Quebec City’s old port.

AURORA BOREALIS was inspired by the Northern Lights phenomenon. It is a contemplative illumination which aims to be an artistic rendering of nature’s beauty. It is transposed through five themes made up of sequences with color changes, movements and intensity variations such as the ones found in a Northern Light.

AURORA BOREALIS is also the meeting of two creators, Robert Lepage and Martin Gagnon, long-time collaborators on such projects as The Image MillMC, ZuluTime and Elseneur. To achieve this public place intervention, the designers used green technologies that require little maintenance; all lighting devices use LEDs (light emitting diodes), a technology known for its low energy consumption, long life, low maintenance and reliability.

The complete installation consists of 574 LED spots in addition to the 1,000 variable white LED pixels, used to create a starry night effect over the entire south facade of the building. The whole lighting system is completely automated. The project was realized and installed by Ex Machina.

The lighting installation will be a single theme daily, from dusk until 1:30 a.m., all-year-round until 2013.

Principal partners include the city of Quebec, acting as promoter. The project also received financial aid from the Commission de la Capitale Nationale du Québec. Finally, AURORA BOREALIS would not have been possible with the exceptional collaboration of the Port de Québec and Bunge of Canada entities.

Make the Magic Live through Light

Ambiances Lighting and Visual Design, established in 2006 by Martin Gagnon, already has an imposing portfolio, including architectural, event, museum and theatrical lighting projects. Gagnon, with more than 15 years’ experience, discovered his passion during a summer job. His abilities were immediately recognized and that enabled him to quickly establish his reputation, especially thanks to his work in numerous shows produced by Robert Lepage.

Martin Gagnon and his multi-disciplinary team have been creating powerful branding tools using light and multimedia for a few years now. Ambiances takes care so as to fully integrate its visual strategies right at the beginning of a project, encouraging a global working approach and close cooperation with the numerous professionals participating in a project.

The firm has produced the lighting of several exhibitions held in prestigious museums, such as the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington and the Québec Musée de la Civilisation. Gagnon has also contributed to various commercial and institutional projects; these include the design of the Casino de Montréal Canopy, the Auberge Saint-Antoine’s Lighting (IESNA Excellence Award) and the preliminary design of two lobbies of new venues for Cirque du Soleil. Ambiances is presently at work on projects in Qatar, UEA, Russia and Western Canada.



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